The Zohar, Chapter “VaYechi (And Jacob Lived),” Item 170: Upon the departure of one’s soul, all his kin and friends in the world of truth walk his soul and show her the place of Eden and the place of the punishment.
Question: People who have undergone clinical death speak of visions they experience, which in many ways are similar to what The Book of Zohar describes. However, these people don’t know the first thing about Kabbalah.
Answer: Understanding Kabbalah does not help a person see the spiritual world. The Upper World can only be felt in a corrected soul. Whether or not a person studies Kabbalistic books is irrelevant. The important thing is whether one wishes to correct himself.
We can look at clinical death experiences in two ways. On one hand, when a person falls into a critical state, it is a heavy blow to the physiological body, which is nothing more than the desire to enjoy. Our body only appears to us as something corporeal that takes up space, but in reality it is only the desire to enjoy a particular type of fulfillment.
If this desire feels emptiness or suffering, it naturally doesn’t want to feel the place (desire) in which it feels pain. It wants to reduce and restrict this place, to live less, to disconnect its senses, take drugs, and so forth. Any person feeling emotional or material suffering wants to restrict it, that is, restrict his perception of the world even to the extent as the desire to stop living.
But by feeling suffering and wanting to ascend, to escape this place that is full of darkness, pain, blows, wars, and diseases, meaning, to rise from the terrible suffering above this world, a person is essentially making a spiritual action. You don’t do it for the sake of bestowal or because you are drawn by spirituality, but because the suffering is pressuring you so much that it forces you out, like a pit popping out of a cherry when squeezed, and you are led upward.
This is the path of suffering, but it is not advancement because in this you do not draw closer to the goal. In fact, you don’t even know there is a goal; you’re simply running away like a beaten animal from the stick. But either way, you rise above your ego, the desire to enjoy. You want to nullify it, thinking: “I don’t want anything, just leave me alone!”
Suppose you stole a billion dollars and were caught and sentenced to life in prison. At that moment you desire only bread and water and to be back home. That’s it! Yet prior to that you wanted a billion dollars! The desire reduces itself, as though ascending by “faith above reason.” It is ready to be in bestowal, to reject and restrict itself so that it does not feel the suffering that punishment brings.
And that is when people begin to sense the truth; a connection with the Creator becomes revealed to them, at least to some degree. However, it passes very quickly, and people are unable to fully take in or retain this state because they lack their own permanent Kelim (spiritual vessels). And so the feeling passes.
In 99.9% of the cases, the sensation of something otherworldly relates only to people’s psychosomatic experiences. Since they live in suffering, confusion, emotional cloudiness, and faulty internal systems, it’s merely their imagination.
The purpose of creation is not for a person to feel the spiritual world in a state of clinical death. We have to feel spirituality in a state of total soundness and function in it like the researchers that have knowledge, understanding, sensation, and power. We have to come to be like the Creator.
From the 2ns part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/2/10, The Zohar